Elisa challenges start-ups to use AI to help operators

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Elisa has launched a competition challenging start-ups to build new AI-based telco products and services.

Competing teams will be tasked with using artificial intelligence to solve problems in the likes of providing entertainment, industrial IoT, telco processes, health and customer service.

The start-ups will have access to anonymised data to test their AI models. Elisa gave the examples of developers using voice recordings and transcripts to create voice recognition software, and network data being used to power automation in its networks.

Help will be given to the developers to establish their idea fully, test it, build a minimum viable product and launch a field trial with a customer. By the end of the competition, the goal is to have assisted in creating a market-ready business.

The Finnish operator is offering access to its data, business coaching, marketing support and potential business with it, as well as €50,000 in cash and the chance to pitch at the Slush start-up conference.

Henri Korpi, Elisa's Executive Vice President of New Business Development, said: “This is an opportunity for startups, researchers and other corporations to work closely with Elisa to access unique data, understand the customer and quickly co-create business.

"Creating Artificial Intelligence businesses will have a huge impact to the future of Finnish society."

Earlier this year, Elisa built its own SON solution that it then offered to other operators. Speaking to Mobile Europe at the time, Kirsi Valtari, Senior VP, Elisa Telco Efficiency Business, said the solution runs more than two million tests and makes 2,000 changes daily on its network.

She added: "Our way of working is a lean start-up approach where we want to develop viable products to solve problems. We had the luxury of testing this ourselves but we are now able to offer it to others."